Mar 17, 2010, 3:48 PM EST
After releasing Elijah Dukes this morning the Nationals may look to replace him with Jermaine Dye, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.
Ladson notes that platooning the left-handed-hitting Willie Harris with right-handed hitters Justin Maxwell or Mike Morse in right field is the Nationals’ most likely post-Dukes plan, but adds that “they do have interest in” Dye if things don’t work out with the in-house options (general manager Mike Rizzo denied any specific discussions about Dye).
Dye hit .250/.340/.453 with 27 homers in 141 games last season for the White Sox, which is more or less average production for a right fielder. However, he’s also 36 years old, batted just .179 in the second half, and is pretty terrible defensively at this point. Dye had a 103 adjusted OPS+ last season. Dukes’ career adjusted OPS+ is 104, and he’s a decade younger with a much better glove.
Of course, Dye certainly won’t cause as many headaches as Dukes and that seems to have been the driving force behind this morning’s move regardless of how many times the Nationals insist it was done strictly for “baseball reasons.” Generally speaking 25-year-old players don’t get released for “baseball reasons” when they still have minor-league options remaining. They get sent to the minors or waived or traded or designated for assignment, but usually not released.
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